Weekly recital of Murray Hartin poems by Alan Jones on 2GB, 7.25am.

This poem is about the homeless. It was written for a conference and partially inspired by the interview of several homeless people during a push to ban them from sleeping in shade shelters at Bondi Beach.

Some of those interviewed were very intelligent and had obviously been jolted out of society by some tragic event.

There are good people who work hard to bring them back.




A second glance, a look away,

A face that scorns the light of day

Stares right back and mumbles words,

Incoherent, rarely heard.

The well-dressed stranger moves along,

Briefly thinks of what went wrong

Then, like all the other grains of salt,

(Not my problem, not my fault),

The homeless figure disappears

Just as he’s done for months – for years.

But look beyond the bottle brown

That helps to wash the anger down,

Matted beard, tormented eyes,

This is where the story lies.

A wife, a child, future bright,

Drunk driver on a rainy night

Stole it all, he couldn’t cope,

Failed bids with pills and rope

Saw him drift into the park

Where kindred souls move through the dark.

The bottle helps absorb the blows

From memories that won’t let go

And while they lodge a guilty plea

The price he pays is sanity.

So much more than just a homeless man,

Do passers-by dare understand

Or take a journey in those shoes,

Lose everything there is to lose,

Asking God for reasons why,

Easier to walk on by.

Each day the tragedies unfold,

The stories though are rarely told,

A thousand pages on the street,

Heroes you may never meet,

Different paths, same result,

Just another grain of salt.

But those who search behind the mask

And choose to undertake the task

To offer light to darkened minds,

Ensuring no-one’s left behind,

Walk through a door that few can see,

And fewer still can find the key,

To thoughts and dreams long cast aside

By those who thought the love had died

But resurrected by the quote

Of just three words – “there’s always hope”.



©Murray Hartin

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